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Insurance company sues Geneva over tree incident

Published: Friday, June 14, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT • Updated: Friday, June 14, 2013 11:49 a.m. CDT

GENEVA –  An insurance company is suing the city of Geneva, claiming that a limb from a tree it failed to remove from its parkway fell on power lines next to a house it insured, causing a fire and costing the company more than $650,000 in claims.

The complaint, filed recently in Kane County by West American Insurance Company of Indiana, alleges the city was negligent in not removing a parkway tree at 318 S. Fifth St., where James and Patricia MacLachlan live.

According to the complaint, a branch from the tree fell on electrical wires at the MacLachlan’s property July  7, 2011, causing a power outage. City workers removed the branch. The MacLachlans asked the city to remove the entire tree, which city workers agreed to do, the complaint states.

But the tree was not removed, and on Aug. 3, 2012, another limb from the same tree fell, hitting the power lines connected to the MacLachlans’ property again, disconnecting a neutral or grounded wire. This caused a fire to ignite on the second floor of the house. 

The damage caused West American to pay out more than $350,000 according to the terms of the MacLachlans’ policy, with another $300,000 in reserve.

Mayor Kevin Burns said the city would not comment on pending litigation. The next scheduled court date is Aug. 22.

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